After playing an integral role in Derbyshire’s successful 2012 LV= County Championship campaign, Martin Guptill will return to Derby for the first time tomorrow as Derbyshire welcome New Zealand to the County Ground.
Guptill scored 594 runs in 14 innings at an average just under 50 during the first half of the 2012 season for Derbyshire, setting Wayne Madsen’s team well on their way to the Division Two crown.
Now the powerful opener will return to his old stomping ground for the first time, as New Zealand begin their preparations for the two Test series against England with a three-day friendly against Karl Krikken’s men, beginning tomorrow at 11am.
Kane Williamson will Captain the Black Caps tomorrow in what is expected to be a highly-contested fixture, and Guptill is chomping at the bit to make his return against some familiar faces.
“I am pretty excited to get out there and play against some good mates,” Guptill said. “It should be good fun and I am really looking forward to playing at the County Ground again.
“It was a long flight, we had two 12-hour long flights so it was tough work but we have had a few nights to readjust and we are now ready for the match on Saturday. I am feeling fit and good and I am now just hoping to score as many runs as I can for New Zealand.
“I definitely think this weekend’s game will be an excellent warm-up as we head into the Test series with England. I spoke to Karl Krikken the other day and I kind of know what the bowling attack will be and I will prepare accordingly to that.
“But it will be tough against a good Derbyshire side. I have also spoken to a few of the Derbyshire boys and they are pretty keen to get at us as well.”
The three-day friendly with New Zealand will be played as a first-class fixture, the second in as many years after Derbyshire welcomed Australia A to Derby in July 2012, and Guptill is certainly expecting a competitive game at the County Ground this weekend.
“This weekend’s game will definitely be taken seriously,” he added. “Derbyshire will not want to back down to us and they will come at us pretty hard so we will have to be on top of our game to get a good result.
“Even though I have a lot of good friends in that side, I will not be afraid of scoring a few runs against my old friends. I am just focused on scoring runs anyway I can to get back into the New Zealand side. I have done reasonably well at the County Ground in the past and I am looking forward to getting back out in the middle and scoring a few more runs, just for New Zealand this time.
“I am hoping to catch up with the boys at some point, I know they are up in Yorkshire at the moment, but as soon as they come back down I will be looking to catch up with most of them and share a few laughs.”
Guptill left half-way through the 2012 season to fulfil his commitments with the New Zealand senior side, but he made sure that he kept a close eye on the progress of this young Derbyshire side. And the 26-year-old was lucky enough to even watch the drama of the final game unfold live while away with the national side.
“I was actually able to watch the last game of last season against Hampshire on TV in Sri Lanka so I was able to get up and watch the boys get the win and I was very excited for them and it was quite a great feeling even though I was half the way around the world.
“It was a great feeling watching the boys win the Division Two title. The lads showed some great fight throughout the whole season and all the hard work they did during the pre-season had paid off. Chris Grant has already told me that my winner medal will be waiting for me when I get back and I am looking forward to picking that up.”
Guptill will now spend the majority of the current season with the national side, before he heads back to New Zealand to rest ahead of their domestic season, but the opener hasn’t ruled out a possible return to the County Ground in the future.
“I would love to come back to Derby. I really enjoyed it there and have a lot of fun and I hope some time in the future that I am lucky enough to be able to come back. But first and foremost I need to get back into the Test side for New Zealand and start to score some runs there. That is my first goal at the moment to get back into that side.”
So, why not come down to the County Ground this bank holiday weekend and enjoy some top class international cricket. To purchase your tickets please call 01332 388 101 or you can buy your tickets online by clicking here.
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